Amy Benner submitted this report.
Wind and waves were the theme of the 2013 Snipe Midwinters, hosted as usual by the Clearwater Yacht Club and Clearwater Sailing Center. This regatta was one of my first as a practicing attorney, which put a whole new perspective on being able to participate. Pulling into the parking lot of the sailing center and seeing a boat waiting to be rigged was liberating. One might think that taking time out from working in order to get myself and my gear to Clearwater, then exerting the energy and suffering required by sailing six monster races in big breeze over three days, would have certainly worn me out for work. But when I returned to the office, I feel energized and my mind has been cleared of excess clutter.
I crewed for former National Secretary and Traveling Snipe Fleet visionary, Donald Hackbarth. This was the first time Don and I sailed together since what has become the legendary “lost centerboard incident” of Midwinters 2009, and we were excited to redeem ourselves.
Saturday was a practice day. A light breeze gave us a chance to test out new sails, make sure everything was in working order, and soak in a little of the Clearwater Beach spring break vibe.
On day 1 of racing, there was an intimidatingly strong breeze as I walked across the coastal waterway bridge from the Yacht Club to the sailing center. The sound of crisp sails flapping as we rigged and headed out to the race course got my adrenaline pumping. Don had asked me to crew only about two weeks prior to the regatta, so I was not in “supercrew” shape. I was counting on my aerobic base from swimming, biking and running the hills in East Tennessee to get me through—which thankfully it did.
The race committee set up a monster Olympic course for the first race, which set the tone for the whole regatta. The reaches were great fun. The breeze was gradually clocking to the right, and lightening, so next up was a windward leeward race. The sun was out but spray tops were on. The two Brazilian teams showed us a thing or two about reaching and running in big wind and waves.
I was working on meeting a tight deadline for a work project, so I disappeared for several hours shortly after we got back to the sailing center, and later joined the gathering at the yacht club that evening. Midwinters in Clearwater is a reunion of friends from around the world who have not seen each other in a year or more. At least seven countries were represented at the regatta this year. I have been a part of the Snipe class long enough now to realize how special these friendships are; we are woven together by the common thread of loving the physically and mentally challenging sport of Snipe sailing.
On day two, the breeze steadily clocked right all day long. Three Olympic courses were sailed in somewhat choppy conditions, and it was a great day on the water. Off the water, it was grapefruit filled with rum or vodka, which is a fun annual tradition. I had completed my work project, so it was finally time for me to catch up with friends. Hours of conversation went by until somehow it was past 2 am. Oops.
Tuesday morning saw strong winds and rain followed by fog, which burned off around 12:30pm in time to sail one race with major waves. It was awesome. We were able to plane on reaches, as well as surf down the waves as we sailed one last Olympic course. Bruno Amorim and Dante Bianchi from Brazil won the final race and the regatta. At the banquet Tuesday evening, Steve Lang received the sportsmanship award for collecting so many crews from the USF college team.
Tinkering with Snipes and competing against a diverse and talented group of people whom I respect on and off of the water brings me great happiness, and allows me to excel in other areas of my life. I consider the Snipe class to be my family—and Clearwater our annual reunion. There are certain traditions we are able to look forward to that come with the regatta, but each year has its own unique events that make it memorable. This year my conversations with friends where I lost track of time, and the fun sailing conditions, are the unique memories I am taking away with me. Serious sailing, serious fun.
Pos,Sail, Skipper, Yacht Club, Results, Total Points
1. 30111, Bruno Amorim/Dante Bianchi, ICRJ, 1--3-3-1-1- ; 9
2. 31126, Mario Sergio de Jesus Jr/Gabriel Portilho Borges, GVI, 2-1-2-2--4- ; 11
3. 30288, Augie Diaz/Julia Melton, Coral Reef Yacht Club, 3-2--1-3-3- ; 12
4. 30473, Ernesto Rodriguez/Megan Place, NA, 10-3-1--2-2- ; 18
5. 29112, Kevin Reali/Ashley Reali, Snipe Fleet 801, 4-4-4-8-6-[28/DNF]- ; 26
6. 29442, Peter Commette/Bruno Mello, Lauderdale Yacht Club, 5-6-[28/OCS]-4-5-7- ; 27
7. 30337, Eric Heim/Terra Lee Berlinski, San Diego YC, 9-9-6-5-9-- ; 38
8. 15790, Pietro Fantoni/Pere Puig, Circolo della Vela Muggia, 6-7-11-10--6- ; 40
9. 30287, Kathleen Tocke/David Hughes, Buffalo Canoe Club, 14--8-6-8-5- ; 41
10. 31007, Henry Filter/Christian Filter, Severn Sailing Association, 8-8-9--10-11- ; 46
11. 30391, Eric Reinke/Sandy Westphal, Severn Sailing Association, 7-10-7-11-13-[28/DNS]- ; 48
12. 30090, BIRGER JANSEN/Jeanette JANSEN, BEARUM SEILFORENING, 12-13-[28/DSQ]-13-7-8- ; 53
13. 29965, Claus Carpelan/Freddy Wegelius, HSK, 11-14-14--17-13- ; 69
14. 30860, Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz, Severn Sailing Association, [28/DNF]-28/DNF-12-7-14-9- ; 70
15. 28686, Willy Crary/Lara Dallman-Weiss, White Bear, 16-12-15-17--12- ; 72
16. 30741, Sharon Seymour-Johnson/Martha Parker, Lauderdale Yacht Club, 15-[28/DNF]-16-9-15-18- ; 73T
17. 30832, Esteban Echavarria/Juan Esteban Restrepo, INDEPORTES ANTIOQUIA, -14/SVP*-17-16-11-15- ; 73T
18. 30942, Don Hackbarth/Amy Benner, Atlanta YC, 17-15-10--16-17- ; 75
19. 29441, Jensen McTighe/Kyle Pond, Lauderdale Yatch Club, 13-16-13--18-16- ; 76
20. 28470, Stephan Irgens/Monica Irgens, CCSA, 19-18-18-19--19- ; 93
21. 30262, John Coolidge/Brielle Haynick, none, [28/DNS]-19-28/DNS-15-19-14- ; 95
22. 29963, William Lang/Tom Hamby, SPYC, 20-20-[28/DNS]-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS- ; 124
23. 30833, HANNA-LEENA LEHTINEN/JUHA LEHTINEN, HSK Helsinki Finlandia, [28/DNS]-28/DNS-28/DNS-21-21-28/DNS- ; 126
24. 30928, Chris Jankowski/Jimmy Jankowski, SSA, [28/DNS]-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS- ; 140T
25. 30551, Martin Bebb/Gina Robichaux, Windycrest Fleet #68, [28/DNS]-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS- ; 140T
26. 29673, Halvor Poulsson/Edel Poulsson, Baerum Seilforening, [28/DNS]-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS- ; 140T
27. 24702, Jerry Thompson/Mandi Smith, ABYC, [28/DNF]-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS-28/DNS- ; 140T